Ray George, Millennium Hall of Fame

Richard Dunn

Regarded as one of the all-time great USC linemen when he played

tackle under Coach Howard Jones from 1936 to '38, the late Ray George was

a Trojan football player, assistant coach and athletic administrator for

30 years.

And, on May 5, George will be formally inducted into the USC Athletic

Hall of Fame, along with 19 other former Trojan athletes and coaches.

George will be honored posthumously in formal ceremonies at the

Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena.

"My brother (Jack) and I will be driving my mom (Martha) up. It should

be fun," said George's son, Greg, who stood in for his father last

football season during a homecoming halftime celebration for the USC Hall

of Fame's Class of 2001, which includes locals Steve Timmons (volleyball)

and Rick Leach (tennis).

Jack George, a former Newport Harbor High valedictorian, graduated

from the School of Dentistry at USC and Greg George played football for

the Trojans, while the former Martha Folsom, Ray's longtime wife, was

also a USC graduate.

If there's a family that bleeds cardinal and gold, it's the Georges.

"We still have season tickets, and we all go ... my mom, my brother

and my wife (Lynne) and I," said Greg George, the 1966 Corona del Mar

High Athlete of the Year, who added that perhaps his dad's fondest

football highlights would be the joy of watching his son play.

Born in St. Louis, Mo., and a graduate of Loyola High in Los Angeles,

Ray George entered USC as a freshman in 1935.

George did not gain consensus All-American mention for the Trojans,

but was never outplayed in three years of varsity football. In 1938,

George was voted the team's most inspirational player by his peers,

earning the Davis-Teschke Award, the program's oldest award.

George's '38 Trojans upset both top-ranked Notre Dame, 13-0, and

previously unbeaten and unscored-upon Duke, 7-3, in the 1939 Rose Bowl

game.

In 1939, George was the second USC player ever drafted by the NFL,

then after his graduation from USC he played two years of professional

football with the Detroit Lions in '39 and Philadelphia Eagles in 1940.

In '41, George joined the coaching ranks at Porterville High School in

Central California, then entered the service in 1942 and ultimately

attained the rank of lieutenant.

George returned to USC as a line coach from 1946 to '50, then became

head coach at Texas A&M; from 1951-53, leading the Aggies to wins over Bud

Wilkinson's Oklahoma Sooners, Red Sanders' UCLA Bruins and Bear Bryant's

Kentucky squad (Bryant succeeded George at Texas A&M; and later went to

Alabama).

After George went into private business, then-USC Coach Don Clark

persuaded the popular assistant coach to rejoin the USC staff in 1958,

the beginning of a seven-year second term for George, who commuted to USC

every day from Corona del Mar.

For five years, George served as John McKay's senior assistant,

including 1962, when the Trojans won the national championship.

George retired from the coaching ranks again and reentered the private

business world, serving as vice president of sales for Transamerica Title

Insurance Company for six years.

In January 1971, George came back to USC as an assistant athletic

director and football coach, his third term at USC, fourth if you count

his time as a player.

George was an assistant athletic director until 1985, and was a Trojan

assistant football coach again from 1972-74, when USC won two national

championships and played in three Rose Bowl games.

"He really had a tremendous rapport with his players," Greg George

said of his father. "I used to see a lot of the players from those '62

and '63 teams, and when I'd bump into them, they'd all remark about how

great my dad was and how he was a father figure to them.

"He was a fairly soft-spoken guy when he coached. But he was 6-foot-2,

290 pounds and would often get down in a three-point stance to

demonstrate how a block was made, and he'd put guys on their backside

without a uniform on, while the players were wearing pads."

Ray George was 78 when he died of complications from a stroke Jan. 12,

1995, in Costa Mesa.

Today, George is honored posthumously as a member of the Daily Pilot

Sports Hall of Fame.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
50°